Oracle’s most recent quarterly results saw its total revenues decline slightly, with the company’s increasing shift toward cloud computing offering a bright spot among some otherwise mixed numbers.
For its fiscal 2013 first quarter, Oracle reported GAAP and non-GAAP total revenues down 2 percent to $8.2 billion (GAAP, or Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, applies primarily to the U.S.; companies with global concerns use non-GAAP measurements in order to reflect a more international context). Hardware systems products revenues dipped, but “new software licenses and cloud software subscriptions revenues” rose either 5 percent (GAAP) or 6 percent (non-GAAP) to $1.6 billion.
A significant portion of that revenue is apparently due to cloud systems. “Oracle’s new cloud business is also approaching a $1 billion annual run rate,” Oracle president Mark Hurd wrote in a Sept. 20 statement attached to the earnings numbers.
Oracle unveiled its Oracle Cloud at the beginning of the summer. Loaded with dozens of enterprise-grade applications, including platform and social services, the software is meant as a comprehensive response to rivals’ own cloud offerings. During the June unveiling event, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison took swipes at companies ranging from SAP to Salesforce, arguing that Oracle Cloud will exceed those companies’ cloud capabilities.
Oracle also faces significant competition in the cloud space from IBM, which has launched a host of online initiatives over the past several quarters, and Microsoft, whose aggressive moves into the cloud include platforms such as Office 365 and Azure.
Nonetheless, at least one analyst feels the early signs for Oracle’s cloud adventure are good.
“In a sign of changing mandates, Oracle executives are embracing Oracle’s future as a cloud company–with much of the touted successes for CY 3Q12 as announced on the earnings call linked to cloud adoption,” Elizabeth Hedstrom Henlin, an analyst with Technology Business Research, wrote in a Sept. 20 research note. “TBR believes this change in corporate position signals further investment in Oracle cloud sales, products, and personnel—raising Oracle’s profile in new addressable markets.”
As a result, Henlin feels that Oracle will move with all due speed to integrate some of its recent acquisitions into the Oracle Cloud. The cloud business is one of potentially high margins and high value, which, when combined with Oracle’s continued investments in other segments such as engineered systems, could translate into significant revenue increases “provided that they remain tightly connected to Oracle’s database and middleware businesses.”